By Adventures in Obsessive Reading
Title: Spinning Silver
Author: Naomi Novik
Page Count: 466
Format Read: BOTM Hardcover
Kid Appropriate: Teen and older
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
I was completely unsure of if I was going to like this book or not. Rumpelstiltskin is one of my favorite fairy tales so I was excited about that aspect of it but I have tried to finish Naomi Novik’s previous novel Uprooted and just found it hard to get into. Luckily, I actually really loved this book!
We follow three main characters (Miryem, Wanda, and Irina). They are each strong female leads that have to save the world and are not always in agreement on what the best route is.
The rapid switching between their POVs without telling you who you are reading from is confusing at times. I remember the first time we are introduced to Irina I was extremely confused who on earth I was reading about as it was fairly far into the book and we had only been introduced to Miryem and Wanda, neither of whom were as wealthy or girly as Irina. Despite this confusion, I enjoyed how strong and different the three of them were and how they each had a unique perspective and way of dealing with the evils of this story.
The tsar and his demon were giving me serious flashbacks to a creepier evil version of Howl’s Moving Castle with Calicifer and Howl.
The Stayrk were one of my favorite aspects of this novel. I wish we had seen more of their world and learned more about their culture than what we saw from Miryem’s limited perspective while she was there.
The romances were very meh. If they had been developed a bit more they may have felt more natural. Despite this, I still really loved this book and found it to be an enjoyable read.
The pacing of the story is definitely slow. So if you prefer fast-paced novels with a lot of action then this might not be the read for you. But if you are looking for a lush, atmospheric fantasy retelling then I would highly recommend giving this one a try!
About the Author of Adventures in Obsessive Reading:
Ms. Winkle is an author and book blogger. Bleeding Heart is the first installment in her Guardian Chronicles series and her first novel. She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Montana, an MA in International Security from the University of Arizona, and is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Political Science. When she isn’t studying she can usually be found with a dog and a book.